EC's withholding of Gujarat poll schedule 'strange': CPI-M

Trevor Jackson
October 16, 2017

The BJP is likely to announce the first list of candidates for the upcoming assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh. Usually when elections are due within a period of six months, the states are combined and a joint announcement is made.

Prime Minister had gone to Gujarat after poll dates were announced, he would have gone there as a campaigner and would not have been able to make populist announcements. He further said that EC's delay was a fundamental assault on a level playing field. It said dates for elections in Gujarat would be announced later, but also that the state would vote before votes are counted in Himachal Pradesh on December 18, to ensure the results from one do not impact the other.

Mr. Joti said that while people in Himachal Pradesh sought to poll before harsh winter set in in the hill state, the Gujarat government had requested that it be allowed to finish several relief and rehabilitation works following floods in the state before the code of conduct was enforced.

Availability of central forces and the year-end festive season were additional reasons, Joti said.

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The EC on Thursday announced the poll schedule for Himachal Pradesh whose assembly's term will end on January 7 next year, but withheld the schedule for Gujarat whose assembly's term ends on January 22 next year.

An unprecedented move to not announce the date of the Gujarat polls at the time of announcement of the Himachal Pradesh by the Election Commission has the opposition accusing the poll panel of tangoing with the prime minister.

"It is now clear that the Modi Government and the BJP are putting pressure on the EC to defer announcement of Gujarat election alongwith Himachal, to suit its political ends", Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala alleged in a video message put out on his Twitter account. This would enhance the transparency and credibility of the election process, the CEC said.

Jagat Prakash Nadda, who is regarded as the strongest candidate in the BJP for the chief minister's post, started out as a student leader in 1975 when he joined the then Sampurna Kranti (total revolution) movement started by Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The BJP will fight against the ruling Congress in the state and it would be a battle of personalities.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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